Welcome to Appy Astros, a blog dedicated to following current & former Greeneville Astros, the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Here you will find reports on current G-Stros, updates on the development of former G-Stros and occasionally an update on what has happened to the guys who have hung up their spikes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2005 Greeneville Astros Progress Report

A few weeks back, we looked at the 2004 team and who was still active. Today, let's look back at the 2005 edition of the G-Stros and see who is still around and how they fared in 2011.

There are seven players who are still in affiliated ball from the 35 players who appeared on the 2005 Greeneville Astros roster. That means 20% were still in affiliated ball in 2011.  Most of these aren't the names I would have listed after the 2005 season.  The Baseball America 2005 top 20 Appy League prospects had four members of the 2005 G-Stros on the list.  The only one still playing affliiated ball today is Koby Clemens (16).  Those who were on the list that aren't around any more are Josh Flores (8), Eli Iorg (14), and Ryan Mitchell (19). 

Koby Clemens - Clemens was the big name of the 2005 draft class.  Some said he was drafted as a favor to his father Roger Clemens but Koby quickly let it be known that he was a decent ball player in his own right.  This was the year the senior Clemens was only traveling with the Houston Astros when he was pitching.  Therefore there were several sightings of Roger Clemens at Pioneer Park and the local Wal Mart.  2005 was Clemens only season in Greeneville.  He moved up the ladder showing progress and working to find a position that worked for him.  He started at 3rd, moved to Catcher and LF before finally landing at 1st.  He found the thin air of the California league to his liking and had a break out year in 2009.   His average dropped almost .100 points in the move from the Cal League to the Texas League in 2010 but he still hit 26 HR on the season.  That warranted a move to AAA for 2011.  There he hit .234 with 16 home runs.

He will turn 25 in the off season.  He is still working on his versatility in the field which is more important with Brett Wallace ahead of him on the depth chart and Kody Hinze and Jonathon Singleton behind him at 1st base. 

Ralph Henriquez - Ralphie (as he was known then) was the Astros' 2nd round pick in  2005.  He spent the first of two years in Greeneville in 2005.  He was a fan favorite because of his willingness to spend time with kids.  After the 2007 season, he was traded for to the Mets for a minor league pitcher, Josh Appell.  After two seasons with the Mets organization, he signed as a free agent with the Mariners organization.  This appears to have been a good move for Henriquez as he got his first taste of AA ball in 2010.  In 2011, he spent time at three different levels, though he only spent one game at high A High Desert before going to the Jackson Generals of the Southern League.  In Jackson, Ralph hit just .196 and threw out 24% of base stealers in 39 games.  In late June, he moved up to AAA Tacoma of the PCL.  His found more success there. He hit a respectable .256 and threw out 30% of base stealers in 37 games.

Henriquez will turn 25 right at the start of the 2012 season.  He is showing improvement despite a slow start that saw him in short season ball for at least part of every season from 2005 to 2009. He is currently looking like a career organizational player but you never know.  Many folks thought he would be out of affiliated ball by now.

Since we are talking about Ralph, you can't mention his career with out the including the classic at bat in 2008 against Pat Venditte.  Switch hitter verses switch pitcher.

Brandon Barnes - Barnes was the 6th round pick in 2005. He like Henriquez spent two season in Greeneville.  Barnes took up baseball late and was primarily a football player in High School.  He was seen as someone with good athleticism and power but very raw.  He had a bit of a break out year in 2007 at Tri Cities where he was named the team MVP.  After spending 2008 in Lexington, he made three different stops in 2009.  He especially enjoyed Lancaster.  During the 2009 and 2010 season, he combined for 39 HR.  That is more than half of his career total of 77 round trippers.  After 2010, he spent some tie in the Arizona Fall League.  This year, he started in Corpus Christi (AA)  but was quickly moved to AAA Oklahoma City.  He didn't fare well there and was sent back to Corpus Christi in July. In Corpus Christiy, he played all three outfield positions and also played three games at second base.   He hit .286 with an OPS of .788 while on the Texas coast. At AAA Oklahoma City, he hit 197 with an OPS of .696.  He played almost exclusively in CF for the RedHawks.

Barnes will be 25 for another month when the season starts next year. I expect he will be in AAA to start the 2012 season.

Victor Garate  - Garate showed promise in Greeneville. He struck out 53 batters in 32 1/3 IP out of the pen but walked more batters (26) than he allowed on base via hits (21).  The questions could he learn control.  He made huge progress in 2006 in Tri Cities where his ERA dropped to 0.92.  Yet he struggled with walks again in Lexington and was sent back to Tri Cities to finish in 2007.  He was left off a AA or AAA roster in the offs eason and the Dodgers nabbed him in the minor league section of the rule 5 draft.He made solid progress for them and was traded to the Nationals in 2009 out of AA as a player to be named later in the Ronnie Belliard trade.  Washington brought him right to the big leagues and he made four appearances in the end of the 2009 season.  He didn't wow anyone with his performance and spent 2010 between AA and AAA in the Washington organization.  In 2011, he signed with the Marlins and had an impressive campaign with the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA).  He appeared in 43 games (56 1/3 IP) and had a 2.72 ERA.  During the year, he struck out 59 batters, walked 34 and allowed 44 hits and five home runs.

I was a bit surprised he didn't get a September call up based on the numbers he put up.  He will be 27 when the season begins and if he continues to do the quality of work he did last season, he should be getting another shot a the majors.

Sammy Gervacio - Gervacio or "Slingin' Sammy" as I like to call him, was the closer for the 2005 G-Stros.  He collected eight saves that season.  He spent 2006 in Lexington before climbing two levels a year in 2007 and 2008.  He ended 2009 with a late season call up to Houston.  He took advantage of his opprotunity and had a solid 2.14 ERA over 29 games (21 IP).  He started 2010 in the Astros bullpen but rotator cuff surgery ended his 2010 season and cut into his 2011 season.  This year he started his climb back to the majors in Corpus Christi in May.  In 8 games there (13 IP) he put up a 1.38 ERA and was promoted to AAA to finish the year.  In Oklahoma City, he appeared in 28 games with a 4.01 ERA. 

Gervacio will be 27 when the season starts next year.  Shoulder injuries often drop velocity and make pitchers have to learn to pitch differently.  Gervacio is playing winter ball for Licey in the Dominican. How he does there might impact where he starts 2012.

Brad James  - Yes was still on a roster this year.  Brad James spent two summers in Greeneville.  He then rode his sinking fast ball on a fast track to AA in 2007.  He spent 2008 and 2009 there.  He missed all of 2010 with a shoulder injury and made a brief comeback this season.  He was shut down in July.  At 27, James time is running out.  I would be surprised if he is on a roster next spring. 

Polin Trinidad - Trinidad spent both 05 and 06 in Greeneville as well.  He think climbed the Astros ladder and was at AAA in 2010 when he was released.  The Cubs picked him up  in the off season but released him in early 2011.  He was picked up by the A's and finished the year at AA Midland where he amassed a 6.91 ERA in 18 games/9 starts.  Trinidad will be 27 when next season begins.  Being a lefty, he might make it on someones roster.  He is playing winter ball in the Dominican for Estrellas de Oriente.

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